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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Pink Fairies subvert national identity

What a bunch of sweeties...got an hour to bash this out. So what are the facts?

Fact 1. Got and read SubvertingScotland’s past ,Scottish whig historians and the creation of Anglo-British identity 1689-1830 : Colin Kidd: Cambridge University Press: 1993 on Monday. Stirring stuff.

Fact 2. Got and listening to cd as replacement for old vinyl Pink Fairies ‘What a Bunch of Sweeties’ (1972). Pink Fairies being as previously mentioned here, link from lates sixties/ early uk counter-culture to late seventies / early eighties punk via the Westway / W11 - see Tom Vague section of www.historytalk.com

The context - World Cup fever thrown up Anglo-Scottish conflict which has fed into post-Blair succession argument ... Gordon Brown is a Jock (as in a Scot not as in a jock-strap wearing sporty type in US college speak) but says he supports Ingerland. Top (Scots) Jock - First Minister Jack McConnell says he does not. Ohmigod, it is the end of the UK!

Maybe. Point being that next year - May 2007- there will be elections to the Scottish Parliament and if enough previously Labour voting Scots are still annoyed enough by Mr Tony Blair to not vote Labour or even vote SNP/ SSP/ Green , the devolution settlement of 1998 could go pear shaped, with echoes of revolution settlement of 1689.

The relevance. Kidd. Got to say I really enjoyed his subversive take on ‘identity’. He manages to deflate English, Scottish and British constructions of ‘essential historic identity’ through a gloriously revolutionary process of deconstruction. Unfortunately written in pretty dense language so can’t easily summarise- you will have to get the book -£26 ish from Amazon (from slight blurring of text, looks like it is printed to order).

The Pink Fairies? Thinking about it, did Pistols and Crass subvert or re-inforce ‘national’UK identity? Banging on about the UK and the royals suggests you take ‘em seriously, attribute some kind of reality to the symbols.

The Pink Fairies connect back to Mick Farren and the more radical aspect of sioxties counter-culture (Farren inspired by the USA Fugs, later recycled by the Pop Group). Suggests an argument which I can only Vaguely hint at - that the pre-punk W11 radical counter-culture was more effectively subversive than punk/ post-punk -since it refused even to recognise the symbolic reality of a ’ Kingdom United by Royalty’ - thus the Social Deviants/ Pink Fiaries/ Hawkwind/ Edgar Broughton Band etc were inheritors of the radical republicanism of the later Covenanters (Cameronians post 1680) who denied the legitimacy of any king or any state and chose to live outwith the law of a United Kingdom.

Oh really? No, probably not. Just having a bit of fun with history and enjoying listening to ‘Right On, Fight On’ which is based on an actual event - the Pink Fairies and Hawkwind were holding a conventicle (= free concert) underneath the newly built Westway in summer 1971 when it was suppressed by a party of dragoons (=police).


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